What happened on the third Friday (and Thursday) of high school football season? Here are five observations from this week.
1.) Area uprising
It was a big week for several Central Kentucky squads that at this time last season were suffering.
West Jessamine improved to 2-1 after twice preventing a game-deciding two-point conversion attempt in the waning moments of a 35-34 win at South Laurel. That came one week after they held on for a 14-13 decision at Clay County, stopping the Tigers at the one-yard line with no time left on the clock. The Colts won consecutive games for the first time since 2013.
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South Laurel scored off a West Jessamine turnover and went for a two-point pass attempt near the end of the game. The Cardinals failed but the Colts were called for pass interference in the end zone. South Laurel then attempted a two-point run but West Jessamine linebacker Josh Jasper got through the front and got a tackle for loss.
“I told ’em after the game it was kind of like a heavyweight weight,” said John Gilliam, who’s in his first season at West Jessamine after coming over from Boyd County. “You’ve gotta be able to stay positive enough and confident enough that you’re gonna respond. We seemed to do that all night long.”
Anderson County built a 21-6 lead over Mercer County and held on for a 21-19 victory over the Titans after snuffing a two-point conversion attempt with 17.5 seconds remaining in the contest. The Bearcats (2-1) lost at Mercer last season, beginning a stretch of three losses in four games.
Clark County defeated Paul Laurence Dunbar, 17-0, holding the Bulldogs to just three yards of total offense. Natavius Thomas, a junior, rushed for 137 yards and two TDs for the Cardinals, who’ve won consecutive games for the first time since 2014 and are above .500 for the first time since that season.
2.) Rain ain’t a good thing
Forget the catchy lies Luke Bryan spread during Red, White and Boom on Friday night — rain definitely had a negative impact on this week’s high school football action. Cincinnati Moeller at Trinity and St. Xavier at Bowling Green — arguably the biggest matchups in the state this week — didn’t kick off until Saturday afternoon, when most folks had traded in their prep colors for UK and U of L gear as the first weekend of major-college football slammed into full gear. A total of 22 games were played Saturday.
Forty-eight matchups kicked off on Thursday, 47 of them originally scheduled for Friday. That earlier-than-usual start might have played a part in nine Thursday shutouts, while heavy rain had a hand in nine more on Friday. The season high for shutouts in a week this year is 19 (week zero).
3.) Thursday warriors
The move to Thursday sure didn’t slow down Scott County, which left a big bruise on Highlands’ Labor Day weekend with a 71-20 whoopin’. It was the Bluebirds’ worst loss since 1927, a 53-0 defeat to St. Xavier (Ohio), and the program’s fift-biggest loss in its 103-year history. The Cardinals’ 71 points are the most by a Kentucky team this season.
Three Louisville powers — Central, DeSales and Male — had no trouble on Thursday, allowing just one score among the threesome (Male 47, Doss 7). Central was able to breathe easy for the first time this year, shutting down Fern Creek, 29-0, after two one-possession wins the past two weeks. DeSales shut out Louisville Holy Cross, 47-0, for the fifth straight season.
4.) Boyle’s better but ...
... the Rebels still don’t know how to win right now.
At least, that’s what Boyle County Coach Chuck Smith said of his team following its 10-7 defeat at Danville on Thursday night. The Admirals converted a 45-yard field goal with 40 seconds left but the Rebels had the ball to end the game; they lost a fumble and Danville took a knee to beat Boyle for the second year in a row.
“We just gotta be able to win a game like this,” Smith said. “ ... Over the last three years we haven’t won a big game, and this was a big game. We’ve gotta get through that wall.”
5.) Smart scheduling
Jackson County and Lynn Camp came out looking like geniuses this week; their game was originally scheduled for Thursday, so the weather didn’t affect them a bit. Lynn Camp won, 39-16, to snap a five-game losing streak that started in October of last season.
The Scott-Covington Holy Cross and Calloway County-Metcalfe County games also avoided reshuffling; they were originally scheduled for Saturday evening.